Report: Lakers eyeing Moe Harkless as buyout target

Moe Harkless
Oct 22, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) is defended by LA Clippers forward Maurice Harkless (8) at Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Lakers 112-102. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have not made any changes to their roster in the trade or buyout markets and that has some fans antsy about the team’s direction. After missing out on potential targets like Marcus Morris, Darren Collison and Reggie Jackson, the Lakers reportedly have their eyes set on a new candidate.

According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick (on ESPN LA’s “The Sedano Show”), the Lakers are keeping tabs on New York Knicks forward Moe Harkless who may be on the move after being traded there from the Clippers earlier this month (h/t Christian Rivas of Silver Screen and Roll):

“Moe Harkless is a name I’ve heard they’re interested in and monitoring and still have an eye on.”

Harkless is a versatile forward who does most of his work on the defensive end. He’d be the perfect player to fix the team’s consistent issues in defending bigger wings. Offensively, he is more limited but this season, Harkless has made 35.5 percent of his shots from deep (on only 1.5 attempts per game).

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the New York native would even get a buyout from the Knicks. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne speculated on Wednesday that the Knicks would keep Harkless.

Meanwhile, The Athletic’s Knicks beatwriter Mike Vorkunov relayed the message from Harkless that he was undecided on asking for a buyout:

Previous reports from New York have indicated that the Knicks would be willing to buy Harkless out of his contract if he requests it. He would need to be waived by March 1st in order to be eligible for the playoffs with his new team.

If Harkless is bought out, there would be a number of teams interested in his services. The Lakers may have the geographic advantage given his recent home in LA as well as more money they could afford to give him due to the injured player exception they received as a result of DeMarcus Cousins’ offseason ACL tear.

There are no guarantees anywhere but Harkless would be a massive addition for the Lakers and could play major valuable minutes in the postseason while fixing one of the team’s most glaring issues.

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